Third Annual Film Series by Democrats Abroad at Paradise Community Center

Bonnie Mott - Democrats Abroad
November 12, 2012

Democrats Abroad is launching its Third Annual Film Series at Paradise Community Center beginning December 4, 2012, on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm.  

Twenty films are scheduled through April and, as was true last year, there will be a special week of Academy-Award-nominated films as well.  

Tickets are available for 60 pesos prior to the movie at Paradise Community Center or 70 pesos at the door the night of the movie.

We invite movie goers to come early to enjoy ordering from the food venders at the center to eat before the show.

The list for the 2012-2013 season is as follows:

December 4 - The Koch Brothers Exposed
December 11 - A Better Life
December 18 - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
January 8 - Where Do We Go Now?
January 15 - Flowers of War
January 22 - Cats of Mirikitani
January 29 - Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
February 5 - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
February 12 - Hope Springs
February 17-24 - Acadamy Awards Week
February 26 - Monsieur Lazhar
March 5 - A Separation
March 12 - In a Better World
March 19 - In Darkness
March 26 - Intouchables
April 2 - Incendies
April 9 - Searching for Sugar Man
April 16 - Surviving Progress
April 23 - Le Havre
April 30 - La Otra Familia

Here's more information about the films:

The Koch Brothers Exposed. December 4, 2012
The director of documentaries on Wal-Mart, Rupert Murdoch, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Robert Greenwald takes on billionaires Charles and David Koch and their huge funding of conservative causes as well as their political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity. After more than a year of research, Greenwald's film exposes tactics used by the Koch brothers to sway the political narrative in their favor, while illustrating the dangers of unbridled influence when in the hands of few.

A Better Life. December 11, 2012
A 2011 American drama film directed by Chris Weitz.  The screenplay, originally known as The Gardener, was written by Eric Eason based on a story by Roger L. Simon. Demián Bichir was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Shot in the landscape of Mexican immigrant LA with a large Hispanic cast, Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that "the performances are pitch perfect" and he gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4. The New Yorker critic Amy Biancolli, writing in the Houston Chronicle, said "It's straight, true and heartbreaking, a masterstroke of raw emotional minimalism."

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. December 18, 2012
A joy for those who love veteran thespians who can act up a storm. A group of English retirees decide to relocate to a seniors' hotel in Daipur, India, to live a relaxing life of leisure. Unfortunately, the hotel turns out to be a dive -  rundown, dreary, and depressing. The characters are a lot more colorful and interesting than the plot. Tom Wilkinson plays gay magistrate Graham Dashwood, who has returned to India to find the boy he loved and left when he was young. Bill Nighy is retired bureaucrat Douglas Ainslie with an irritating, constantly complaining wife (Penelope Wilton), whose savings have been lost by a daughter's careless investment. Judi Dench is recent widow Evelyn Greenslade, who has never before looked after herself. Maggie Smith is Muriel Donnelly, an unapologetic racist in need of a hip replacement. And, Celia Imrie is Madge Hardcastle, a gold digger still very much on the prowl.

Where Do We Go Now?  January 8, 2013
This film tells the story of a remote, isolated unnamed Lebanese village inhabited by both Muslims and Christians. The village is surrounded by land mines and only reachable by a small bridge. As civil strife engulfed the country, the women in the village learn of this fact and try, by various means and to varying success, to keep their men in the dark, sabotaging the village radio, then destroying the village TV. The village is slowly drawn into violence, but the women get along beautifully and conspire together to keep their men from fighting, even hiring Ukrainian dancers to entertain their men and other tricks to quell the hostilities.

Flowers of War.  January 15, 2013
Nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best picture and directed by Zhang Yimou, this film takes place in the streets of Nanjing during the Japanese invasion. It throws together a group of opposites-a flock of shell-shocked school children, a dozen courtesans, and a renegade American (Academy-award winning Christian Bale) posing as a priest-all seeking safety behind a walled cathedral. Trapped by marauding soldiers, over a few days the prejudices that divides them falls away as they unite around a last-ditch plan to protect the children from impending catastrophe.

Cats of Mirikitani.  January 22, 2013
This film has been called "A miracle" by New York Magazine. Eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of WWII internment camps, Hiroshima and homelessness by creating art. But when 9/11 threatens his life on the New York City streets, a local filmmaker brings him to her home. The two of them embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful past. An intimate exploration of the lingering wounds of war and the healing power of community and art, this film has won awards at some 20 festivals including Best Documentary, Philadelphia Film Festival and Best Picture, Tokyo Int'l Film Festival.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, in Turkish with English subtitles.  January 29, 2013
A metaphysical road movie about life, death and the limits of knowledge, directed by the Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan ("Distant," "Three Monkeys"), who in recent years has emerged as one of the consistently most exciting directors on the international scene. His latest, which shared the grand prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, takes the unassuming form of a police investigation that, as miles and words mount, evolves into a plangent, visually stunning meditation on what it is to be human. The story is direct, if the journey less so. A man has been murdered, and a small battalion - a doctor, a prosecutor, a few policemen, several soldiers, diggers with shovels and a transcriber with a laptop - has invaded the countryside with the suspect to dig up the body. The trouble is that the accused, Kenan (Firat Tanis), claims to have been drunk when he committed the murder and can't remember where he buried the body. And so off the men go in two cars and a Jeep, driving up and down the sensuous, rolling hills of Anatolia, the enormous peninsula that constitutes most of Turkey and which the ancient Greeks called the land of the rising sun.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. February 5, 2013
Based on the novel by author Jonathan Safran Foer, director Stephen Daldry's post-9/11 drama follows the journey of a nine-year-old boy as he attempts to solve a family mystery. Two years after his father is killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks, the curious boy discovers a mysterious key hidden in a household vase and begins an exhaustive search for the matching lock. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock star.

Hope Springs.  February 12, 2013
Starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in a latter-year marriage, Kay and Arnold are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple's specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough - the real challenge for both of them comes as they try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place. The greatest pleasure is watching these two old hands at movie magic in star roles together! This film is a great intro to Valentine's Day.
Monsieur Lazhar.  February 26, 2013
Academy-award nominee for Best Foreign-language Film and a Critic's Pick by The New York Times, Monsieur Lazhar tells the moving and poignant story of a Montreal middle school class shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher, and the 55-year-old Algerian immigrant who offers his services as a substitute teacher and aids the process of collective healing.

A Separation (an Iranian film). March 5, 2013
The film is a fascinating look at the motivations and behavior of modern Iranians and provides a compelling examination at what goes on behind a particular curtain that almost never gets raised. The early front-runner for the foreign-language Oscar and a rare triple prize winner at the Berlin International Film Festival, this is a movie from Iran unlike any we've seen before. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation" is intense, focused and narrative-driven. Imagine Alfred Hitchcock's intricate attention to plot joined to the devastating emotional impact of Ingmar Bergman: The result is so exhilarating, the movie was the first foreign-language film to win the screenplay award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Gradually, bit by bit, like drops turning into a flood, the plot shows that the ordinary can get devastatingly out of hand, and minor misunderstandings, confusions and evasions morph into a slow-motion nightmare that threatens to destroy everything and everyone in its path. This incisive look at Iranian society reveals, without calling any special attention to it, divisions over class, over religious observance, over political philosophy. But what's so inspired here is the director's decision to ground them all in the most personal of all separations, that between a husband and wife.

In a Better World (Danish 2010). March 12, 2013
This film tackles the global theme of bullying…from the personal stage of your own home to how countries bully. It takes place in Denmark and Africa.

In Darkness. March 19, 2013
Leopold Socha (Robert Wiêckiewicz,) a sewer worker and petty thief in Lvov, a German-occupied city in Poland, encounters a group of Jews trying to escape the liquidation of the ghetto, and hides them for money in the labyrinth of the town's sewers beneath the bustling activity of the city above. What starts out as a straightforward and cynical business arrangement turns into something very unexpected, the unlikely alliance between Socha and the Jews, as the enterprise seeps deeper into Socha's conscience. The film is also an extraordinary story of survival as the men, women, and children in hiding all try to outwit certain death during 14 months of ever increasing and intense danger. In Darkness was filmed on location in Poland and Germany as well as Berlin's Studio Babelsberg where the crew and cast worked in recreated water-filled sewers. *Note: Film is presented in Polish/German/Yiddish/Ukrainian with English subtitles.

Beasts of the Southern Wild.  March 26, 2013 7 pm.
The devastated landscape of the Louisiana bayou becomes a primordial world in the eyes of 6-year-old Hushpuppy (the fierce and magnetic Quvenzhané Wallis). Hushpuppy's father Wink (Dwight Henry), emotionally unstable and increasingly ill, fights to maintain their ramshackle home, along with the rest of the precarious community of the area known as the Bathtub--but a Katrinaesque storm leaves the Bathtub flooded, driving Wink to desperate lengths. Faced with the loss of everything she knows, Hushpuppy decides her only hope is to find her mother.  Her only clue is a winking light in the distance. Beasts of the Southern Wild tells its story entirely from the 6-year-old's perspective; the actions and emotions of adults take on a mythic scope, as does the damaged environment in which she lives. The movie is dense and rich, often as obscure and murky as the overgrown bayou itself, sometimes off-putting and enticing at the same time. Wallis, her performance brimming with feral energy and a wounded soul, carries the movie with more star power than most adults could muster. The dialogue is thick with intriguing metaphors and the images resist being easily interpreted into a conventional plot, but the story gradually emerges, rising to a potent end. Teeming with magic, beauty and pure joy, this crowd-pleasing winner at the Sundance Film Festival has emerged as one of the year's most acclaimed films.
Incendies. April 2, 2013
After the death of their mother, twins in Montreal are called to the office of her employer. She had gone to work for him some 20 years ago after escaping sectarian violence and rage in a nation not unlike Lebanon. She left for her children, they learn, two letters. Jeanne (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) is asked to give hers to the father they never knew. Simon (Maxim Gaudette) is told to give his to a brother they didn't know they had. This is a plot for a thriller, and Denis Villeneuve's Oscar-nominated "Incendies" doesn't shy away from that truth. But it wants to be much more than a thriller and succeeds in demonstrating the lesson that an accident of birth is not a reason for hatred.  The underlying story here could be a noir set in any country, taking its choice of all the sad justifications men find for murder. In its Middle Eastern setting, the film takes on a contemporary feel, and the scenes of battle, rape and torture are concise and pitiless. The performance of Lubna Azabal, who plays Nawal over a range of years, is never less than compelling; she helps us understand in a visceral way why she acts as she does under the circumstances she is unlucky enough to inherit.
Searching for Sugar Man. April 9, 2013
Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit folksinger who had a short-lived recording career with only two well received but non-selling albums. Unknown to Rodriguez, his musical story continued in South Africa where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations. Long rumored to be dead by suicide, a few fans in the 1990s decided to seek out the truth of their hero's fate. What follows is a bizarrely heartening story in which they find far more in their quest than they ever hoped, while a Detroit construction laborer discovers that his lost artistic dreams come true after all. Director: Malik Bendjelloul.

Surviving Progress. April 16, 2013
Surviving Progress presents the story of human advancement as awe-inspiring and double-edged. It reveals the grave risk of running the 21st century's software - our know-how - on the ancient hardware of our primate brain which hasn't been upgraded in 50,000 years. With rich imagery and immersive soundtrack, filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks launch us on journey to contemplate our evolution from cave-dwellers to space explorers. Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, "A Short History Of Progress" inspired this film, reveals how civilizations are repeatedly destroyed by "progress traps" - alluring technologies serve immediate needs, but ransom the future. With intersecting stories from a Chinese car-driving club, a Wall Street insider who exposes an out-of-control, environmentally rapacious financial elite, and eco-cops defending a scorched Amazon, the film lays stark evidence before us. In the past, we could use up a region's resources and move on. But if today's global civilization collapses from over-consumption, that's it. We have no back-up planet.

Le Havre. April 23, 2013
Le Havre is a sweet story of tolerance directed by Aki Kaurismaki and set in its namesake French coast city.  It tells the story of a shoeshine man with a big heart who befriends an illegal immigrant from Africa. Seattle Times film critic Moira Macdonald found the quirky and spare dialogue a joy and the movie's mix of "cigarette smoke and storybook endings" a pleasure indeed.

La Otra Familia. April 30, 2013
Mexican film, directed by the same director as Y tu Mama Tambien, explores the contemporary issue of what constitutes a family. Abandoned by his drug-addicted mother, a young seven-year old boy is cared for temporarily by a homosexual couple. At times funny but always educational and heart-opening.

For those of you just returning to PV for the High Season, a big Bienvenidos! PV is getting more and more wonderful entertainment.

Paradise Community Center is located across from Coco’s Kitchen at #127 Pulpito in Old Town Vallarta.

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